Baby Steps to Branding
Baby Steps to Branding
Before you can even begin thinking about individual designs and T-shirt slogans, you have to establish a cohesive vision for your brand. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself, or use as brainstorming guidelines for your next meeting with your partners:
- Where do you want to see your product sold?
- Who is your target customer?
- Who are your direct competitors?
These questions may not arise until later in a Clothing or Fashion Line’s startup stage, but they are key in being able to A. Establish your Market, B. Identify your Customer, and C. Create a Baseline for Success. By thinking along these lines from the start, you will be able to develop a product that will cater to your customers and target market. This is much easier that having to educate your potential customers about your product or niche in the future.
Competitors will always be there. Learning to identify them early on will give you a peek at the lay of the land. Research their marketing techniques from yesterday and today. The direction that they have taken from their own startup and seed stage will provide you with a look of some of the pitfalls that your own business may face. In the same hand, their success with various markets and customer bases may give you a better idea of what direction to focus your own marketing efforts on.
It is up to you and your team to decide on how you want to be perceived. Develop a plan for bringing recognition to your product. You have a variety of methods to reach your target audience before they even step into a store. Social Networking, Online/Offline Advertising, and Guerrilla Marketing are all tried-and-true methods to building brand recognition, but must be utilized correctly to get the best return on your investment (be it time, money, etc).
There are a million ‘How-To’ guides on every topic imaginable, but at least two-million on the subject of social network. This craze has entered every aspect of our lives. We announce milestones and achievements. Good news and bad. Some of us let the world know what we had for dinner, and what it looked like when it came back out. It seems like every step we take is broadcast for the world to see.
Love it or Hate it, social networking is a key aspect of developing a strong Brand. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to interact DIRECTLY with your clients, customers and fans, in a way that could not have been dreamed of even a decade ago. Learn to best harness this technology to reach your target audience.
- Tweet previews of your latest designs to your thousands of adoring followers (or even just that one, if you are just getting started).
- Blast your Friends list with invites to your next event or links to a secret sale on your site.
- Harness the power of LinkedIn to network with other business professionals in your (and other) industry(ies).
- Set up profiles and comment away on the many industry-specific blogs and microplatforms.
- Blog away on your own site, and enjoy the traffic Google sends your way.
If you want to learn more about Social Networking and Branding, use your favorite search engine to find another blog or ‘how-to’ site out there! There are a myriad of free resources available that trump any advice we could give on this topic! Once you’re done, come back to continue reading the Imperia Guide to Brand Development (working title).
Your next step is Turning Brand Awareness into Sales (Coming Soon).